Monday, January 31, 2011

Karula and Cubs seen LIVE!!!


Wow!
What a a great sighting we had with Karula and the cubs this morning! WE are so happy so many of you were able to share this exciting moment with us!

Morning drive had ended and Marc had just reached camp as a call came in about Karula on MMM possibly with the cubs. Needless to say he responded to the call!

WE caught up with the lady strolling down MMM, the main road from the gate, with the two cubs gallivanting about her, taking in the world around them! A quick sniff here and a glance there before running to catch up with her again! The temperature had increased by this time and she may have decided it was less risky to move them, as hyenas and lions would be more likely to be asleep by then.


Marc stayed with her for a short while, until she headed back into the bush, looking like she was cutting towards the junction of Zoe's road and Philamon's cutline. With luck she might be moving the cubs further into the center of her territory now the lions have moved out the area. It is going to be interesting to see if she will use the same spots to leave the cubs as she did the boys, while she goes off hunting.

With the herd of impala gone from Impala plains, it could be one of the reasons she has moved on, to look for better hunting opportunities. She has been in the area for a few days now and the scent of the cubs will linger too, which could attract predators to their location. This could be another reason why leopards move the den site so much especially in the first few months.


It turns out she had used a den at the base of the termite mound where she was found yesterday after morning drive. A Vuyatela guide had been walking with guests in that area around 11am and found her sitting on top of the mound on the Northern side of Impala plains. I joined him in the sighting, hoping to go live with her, but the visual was very poor. Leaving her in peace, sleeping under a weeping wattle (which had been roughly 80m away from where the cubs were), Patrick went back on PM drive, to find the lady still sleeping under the same tree!

It only became clear the cubs were hidden at the termite mound, when she went back there to call them to join her as the sun was setting. WE had a brief glimpse of the cubs, but to reduce the possibility of a predator finding them, we are not allowed to use a spot light. So Patrick pulled out to leave the family cloaked under the protection of darkness.

WE do not want to put Karula and the cubs, as well as any other animal, under any stress or in danger, this is of the utmost importance to us and sometimes this may mean pulling out of a sighting. WE, as I am sure you all do, have the animal's best interests at heart. With out them there would be no WE! But as long as she allows us, WE hope to bring you many opportunities to see the cubs, to watch them grow in size, skills and hopefully become successful adult leopards just like their mum!

I hope you can join us on this wonderful journey of these two delightful little characters! For those of you who missed it here is a clip of the footage taken today!

video

Thank you to everyone sending in pictures this morning!

Written by Tara

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Karula's family tree - The lady herself, Karula part 1.

Hi everyone,

Thank you so much for all the pictures and video clips you have sent in. Again it has been a very hard decision as to which ones to use! I would like to share more with you, so Karula's Blog is going to be in 3 parts! This Blog is to introduce her and give some background to her, the second how to ID her and the third focusing on what a brilliant mother she has been so far! I think these pictures sum her up as the Queen of Djuma, giving us that typical Karula look, knowing she is more than just an average leopard, which I think you will agree, she is!

Karula was born March 15 2004. She was one of two cubs in that litter, born to Safari and thought to be sired by Mafufunyane. Sadly her sister Tshemba was killed in 2006, possibly by lions or another leopard.


When I first met her I was shocked at the size of her, she is tiny! Maybe weighs in around 35-40kg. But as the saying goes, great things come in small packages and I couldn't agree more!
This clip is a great collage of pictures and video taken by Andreas Nienhaus during his visit to Djuma of Karula avoiding a lion, showing her agility and great survival sense. One of the reasons I think, she has been so successful! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5_znA1BuOqE

It is thought she has one surviving sibling from the litter born December 2005, a male called Matimba. Also thought to be sired by Mafufunyane, making him a full brother to Karula. He has not been seen around here possibly since he and Karula had a fight in 2008, where their mother Safari intervened. He could have a territory elsewhere in the Sabi sands and now be known under a different name.


With a short gap between the two litters being born, this shows how capable a hunter Karula must have become at a young age. During drives we have been amazed at the lengths she will go to for a successful hunt. Watching her stalk, waiting for the perfect opportunity, showing the patience and skill of an accomplished hunter. WE have even sat holding our breath , on the edge of our seats, as she wrestled with an impala, which must have out weighed her, trying the cache it in a 4.5m high tree. Nearly killing herself in the process, she wasn't deterred, she simply regained her footing, took hold on the meat once more and heaved it up the vertical trunk to it's final resting place!


Most of her territory falls in our 1000ha traversing area, with part of Buffleshoek in the North and Little Gowrie in the South. This has ensured her being a WildEarth regular, filmed for most of her life. She has already given us insight in to the extraordinary lives of leopards in general from the harsh reality of hunting and mating to the more tender moments shared between mother and cub. More than this though WE have had such a unique opportunity to really get to know this special leopard on a personal level. Understanding her particular looks and moods, knowing her favourite haunts, den sites, even partners, teaching methods and food preferences.

She has touched the hearts of many across the world and in doing so she has helped to bring so many people together. Truly, one very special Cat and one WE all enjoy sharing!

Video clip posted by Pat, of Karula and Pieter Pretorius explaining why she is special.

I can't wait to see her again and share the next chapter of her life!
Written by Tara

With Thanks to Karen and Colleen's information from http://wildearth.ning.com



Friday, January 28, 2011

First sighting of Karula's cubs!

Hi everyone!

We have been looking in the area we last saw Karula and the cubs on drive, in the hope of bumping into them again! Here is the clip of the 2 energetic cubs and Karula, who we managed to catch up with yesterday thanks to Patrick, just in case you missed seeing it!

There has been no further reports of her since yesterday, but it still great news the cubs are alive and well! Karula has done a great job at avoiding the lions in the area and all the hyena activity so far. She has proven to be an excellent mother and I hope she will continue to keep the cubs safe and well. I have full faith in her!

Until we see them again, enjoy the first view WE have had of them!


video

Written by Tara

Live and Non Live

Hi Folks
As you all know we have been running non live repeated content in between game drives on our website player. I have listened to all your feedback which let me know this has caused a lot of confusion, especially as the live and non live bug displayed on the player has not always been correct.
We want to address this bug issue and avoid any further confusion as well as make some associated technical changes to the player and so for a short while we will revert to only showing live game drives in 2d on the web player.
Part of the technical changes will include the long waited upgrade to the archive facility which is currently being completed by WildEarth interactive. The new archive facility will be quite something and is almost there. The website guys just need to shake out a few of the wrinkles, which I am told could be as soon as a few days.
In the meantime enjoy our live drives in 2d. They are live no longer any confusion.

One other thing, I would like to put a request out to all our viewers to help us to increase our face book membership numbers by inviting everyone you know to be part of the safari channel face book page. Our target is to get to 20,000 friends, and to do that we need your help.

Written by Will Fox

Blogging for frogging


The weather has delayed our efforts to investigate the aquatic environment of the seasonal pans and mud wallows with an emphasis on the frogs that are found here in the Sabi Sand Game Reserve. Once again, WE are going to attempt to get our feet wet and muddy by exploring one of these water bodies in the hope that WE can show our viewers a world hidden from view but inhabited by some of nature's quirkiest creatures.

There are beetles and bugs that are seldom seen as they are able to exist either in the air or under the water, having adapted to this environment in such a way that they are no longer capable of functioning on land.

There are spiders that carry air bubbles like scuba tanks or aqua-lungs, spiders that hunt fish and tadpoles and a variety of small predators under the surface that make science fiction seem like a fairy tale.

Whilst WE will be looking for some of these reMarcable creatures, our main focus, of course, will be on frogs and their lives and hopefully a tadpole or 2.

Please join us tonight after the PM safari at 19hoo CAT as we brave crocodiles, mosquitoes, lions and other creatures of the night to bring you this new segment.

Marc

Thursday, January 27, 2011

WE's first sighting of Karula's cubs!

WOW!
WE have seen Karula's cubs looking well and full of energy! Amazing Mixo and Induna were first viewed by WE on Jan 26 2009, this is the first time WE have viewed her new litter and it is just a day later two years on and they will also be around 2 months old!

While at the gate, Patrick was lucky enough to see the lady and the cubs leisurely crossing over MMM from Simbambili down on to Vyatela access road around 9am. She had been seen by the guides heading towards Simbambili in the West earlier this morning with out the cubs.

Melusi and Catherine also had a brief view of her on Vuyatela access road late last night. With her bringing the cubs back to the same area she was seen last night, there is a good chance she made a kill there and she was bringing the cubs to the kill! With luck she might stay in the area and WE will have chance to see the tiny cubs again soon!


Having the call from Patrick we jumped aboard Ganda to see if we could catch a glimpse of her on camera. We caught up with the small family South of Sandy Patch on Impala road. The cubswere darting from side of the road to the other, playing and chasing, as Karula slowly continued on her chosen path.

Our last view was of her cutting South through the bush. Having had heavy rain last night, the ground was too wet to follow, so we sat and watched in the hope we will be privileged enough to see them again very soon! Stay tuned in case it is out side of drive time again!

The footage will follow shortly!

Written by Tara

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Karula's family tree - Her daughter Saseka

Hi everyone!

Karula is in hiding again and I don't blame her with the Nkuhuma pride and Gijima males around. They have headed East and sounds like Karula could possibly have headed West to avoid them. Two cubs were seen by the Gowrie gate guards around 21.00 last night, in the middle of play their mother came to join them, leading her small family towards Simbambili. It is difficult to say for sure, but it could have been Karula and it would make sense with the resent activity of the lions and hyenas in the area!

Lets have a closer look at her daughter, Saseka, which means beautiful. Her official name being Thandi. You will hear us refer to her as this on the radio, as it is the name used by the rest of the guides. The guide who sees the cubs first generally gets to name them, but only after a year. The reason being the mortality rate can be high during this critical time. That is one of the reasons why Karula is so special to us, as she has successfully reared 2 litters to adulthood. Can she do it a third time? WE truly hope so!

She was the first offspring to be born to Karula around mid December 2006, along with her sister Tingana, (official name Shadow). So far they are the only daughters of Karula. The father is thought to be Mafufunyane. At the time of mating, Karula would have been just under 3 years old.


The girls were first seen in February 2007 and looked to be around 8 weeks old. They eventually went their separate ways and it seems Saseka is being found nowadays towards the South East of us, around Cheetah plains. She visits her mother's territory from time to time around twin dams and tree house dam.

It is such a joy to hear this beautiful leopard has had 2 cubs of her own, being seen for the first time by a guide on the 18 Jan at Cheetah Plains. She was seen mating with the stunning male Mvula last year. With any luck she will have her mother's ability for rearing cubs!


She seems to be darker in colour compared to her mother and sister. Over her left eye there is a "Y" mark, under the left eye are "eyelash" markings. From the corners of both eyes she looks like she is wearing eye makeup like the ancient Egyptians use to wear, a straight line. She also has a nick in her left ear.

Thank you so much to everyone sending in pictures, it was a difficult choice, but great to have so many wonderful shots of her to choose from and to share with all the WE family! Thanks to Karen and Colleen for the information they have compiled over the years about the leopards and to Lou Ann Wile with help on how to Id her! I hope some day those of us who have never met her will have the chance to do so!

Written by Tara

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Is Karula on the move?

Gijima and Nkuhuma 23 Jan 2011
Hi everyone!

There's no wonder Karula might be on the move! The Nkuhuma pride and Gijima male lions have been in the same area she was last seen denning with her cubs, around Tamboti dam on Buffleshoek Cutline.

Last night the Vervet monkeys, who are sitting outside my room as I write this, were calling outside camp around 19.15 as I got back from drive and later around 22.00. We couldn't be sure but we thought a leopard may have been on the prowl, even the impala looked a bit uneasy as we drove home from dinner. To satisfy our curiosity we did a lap around the old quarantine area and the car park but the search was fruitless.

It was only when there was a report of male leopard tracks being in Vuyatela's car park this morning, could we confirm our suspicions were right! They possibly belonged to one of the boys.

Following them on Central road from Gowrie dam, then North onto Gowrie Cut line, I noticed different size tracks also heading North. It turned out to be Karula's spoor with possible tracks of the cubs along side hers! I lost them close to the junction with Buffleshoek cutline, she may have moved further East into the drainage line, to avoid the Nkuhuma and Gijima lions. Especially as the lions are still mating in the area on the fire break. I did find fresh tracks and urine from the rest of the lion pride just South of Tamboti dam on Buffleshoek Cut line, so she may have moved them already to avoid detection.

Karula's spoor 23 Jan 2011

We still haven't seen the cubs, who are around 2 months old now, but as they get older the chance of seeing them is getting greater! Lets hope it is soon!

Written by Tara




Saturday, January 22, 2011

Frogging



Tomorrow night, Sunday 23rd Jan, WE will be exploring the aquatic world of one of the seasonal pans here at Djuma Game reserve with the main focus on frogs and their lives. We are very aware of the sensitivity of this subject given a global decline in amphibian numbers due to a deadly Chytrid fungus called Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis that causes the disease known as Chytridiomycosis, a disease that has killed off many frogs and other amphibians around the world.

WE have done some research on the safe handling of frogs and will make every effort to have as little impact on their lives and WE hope that this will be an educational tool that will help inform people around the globe on the plight of amphibians as they are perhaps the most sensitive creatures in any environment that are the first to be affected by pollution and threats to their environment.

WE will also be looking at the other creatures that inhabit these ponds and wallows with the frogs and their tadpoles and hope to bring a new world to our viewers, a world WE don't get to see very often.


Enjoy!

Marc.

Live vs Pre Recorded




Due to a lot of confusion as to whether the stream is live or pre-recorded, WE have decided to remove the "LIVE" banner on the screen. From this point forward, if the drive is pre-recorded, there will be the banner on the top left of the screen to say so.
If there is no banner and there are no "stings" (the 3D safari banner that flashes across the screen during the drive as it does on pre-recorded), then the drive is live. There are other signs that it is live; there are no "cuts" from one scene to another as well as the fact that the drive is continuous, whether WE see animals or not. WE hope this helps to identify the different broadcasts.

Many thanks,

Marc.

Friday, January 21, 2011

The hunt is on!

Nkuhuma lioness and cub 20 Jan 2011
Hi everyone!

What a stark contrast we had yesterday! Having seen the Nkuhumas and the Gijimas sleeping for most of the day, we suddenly got caught up in the pride hunting a buffalo as dusk fell over the African bush! Believe me adrenaline was pumping!

We left the slumbering cats to try and relocate the cheetah from that morning, but sadly we were not successful. We even heard Tingana/Shadow was seen crossing over MMM towards Impala plains, but even she kept to the thick bush. I had wanted to head back towards the lions as the temperature was dropping to see if they would become active, so we did just that.

As we drove down Buffleshoek cut line towards tamboti dam, where Karula is thought to be denning, a buffalo cow and calf, around 8 months, crossed the road heading towards the dam. There was evidence she was at the back of a herd that had already been there, so I didn't think too much of it.

Having no visual of her I continued on, briefly checking the wall in case Karula was around. Instead of a small spotted cat, I saw a large golden one! That female was joined by another who was followed by the cubs. Only then could I confirm it was the lions we had left sleeping a hour earlier!

Nkuhuma cubs 20 Jan 2011

They had clearly seen the potential meal and quickly set about the hunt. The cubs, being left on the wall out of harms way, watched the action from their vantage point. Just as I comprehended what was happening and realising the possibility the females might chase the cow back over the road, I started turning the vehicle towards where we had seen the buffalo.

As I did this, a loud bellow came from the cow.......she had seen the lionesses! The sound of a 700Kg adult buffalo crashing through the bush followed, signaling the start of the chase. Sure enough my prediction was right, the calf and mother ran for their lives back over Buffleshoek cutline, closely pursued by 1, 2, 3 flashes of gold. Just as I asked, "where's the 4th?", she cut in front of us, focused on what was happening ahead of her.

Nkuhuma lioness 20 Jan 2011

It was a mission to keep up through the bush, but luckily they hadn't gone too far. Two females stood looking at us on the fire break. It had ended as abruptly as it had started and on first impression, they had missed. They were still, there were no signs of a struggle and all was quiet. Thinking of it now, it was eerily quiet. With thick grass and trees obscuring the view I pulled forward, revealing the 3rd lioness with her jaws securely clamped around the calf's neck.

It was clear the old lady was extremely experienced and as kills go it was very swift. We had lost sight of them for only a few seconds, by the time we caught up to them, the calf was already succumbing to her efforts. Exhausted, she eventually released her grip to watch her cubs join them, closely followed by the males.

With the sun setting, the family sat down to eat under the watchful eye of the lioness, trying to catch her breadth. There was even a tender moment shared between her and a cub before they too joined in the feast, stating a claim to their share. Throughout the meal there was bickering and growling, blood curdling at times, reminding us of the power these majestic but deadly creatures.

Nkuhuma and Gijima males enjoying dinner 20 Jan 2011

Seeing them so docile and asleep, it is easy to forget what a formidable predator this cat is. Last night served as a reminder, don't ever fall into the trap of becoming blasé around these felines!

What a thrilling experience, getting so close to nature at her most extreme. A slice of reality that impacts us on so many levels, which provokes a number of emotions, from sadness at a loss of a life, to the excitement of being in the mist of raw action as it unfolds. It is a side of nature you rarely get to encounter, but one that will stay with you for a lifetime.

Written by Tara









Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Karula and Nkuhuma pride!

Karula 19 Jan 2011
WOW what a morning!

As we drove out from camp this morning, staring at us from her vantage point, on top of a termite mound, was a lioness! I couldn't believe my eyes! I had to ask Herman if he also saw it! Adrenaline kicked in, as we started calling Craig excitedly "we've got lions, we've got lions, go live, go live!"
Driving closer we could see the 2 Gijima males and another female. It dawned on me to look for the cubs and sure enough there they were, next to one of the broth
ers! Locating the rest of the pride, we were able to get a bit closer and a better view of the cubs and mother eating.

To begin with I thought they were eating a zebra, seeing the head with a black muzzle, later the cub dragged it's prize away from it's sibling, so we had a clearer view. Seeing a horn I realised it might have been a wildebeest, but judging by the horn size I couldn't remember seeing a wildebeest that age in our local herd. It then dawned on me it could be a young buffalo calf, but having not seen them the day before or any sign of them I couldn't be sure! It was only when we made space for the other vehicles, did I see spoor of a buffalo herd on the Southern side of the open area! Mystery solved! A young buffalo calf it must have been, roughly around a year, year and half old.

Nkuhuma male 3 Sept 2010

We rejoined the pride as they meandered north on Galago short cut. The males looked interested in one of the lionesses, she could be cycling as they paid close attention to her, but no mating seen as yet. One male and 3 females broke away to the East, as the mother, cubs and second male continued North. We were lucky to have these stunning cats walk right next to the Ganda as they continued towards Buffleshoek.

The cubs took their time to walk past us, only then could we confirm they are 2 boys! Already a difference in personality. One willing to sit near us and walk in his mother's tracks. The other not to sure and taking a detour into the bush! Just before the small family disappeared over Buffleshoek cutline, the male tried to locate his brother by roaring, a rarely heard call during the day, but there was no answer. With an affectionate nuzzle from one of the cubs towards his possible father, they were gone!

The excitement wasn't over though! Karula had been found on the fire break, just north of Sandy Patch, close to Buffleshoek cutline. A distance from where we left the lions, we found her still resting in the shade of a knobthorn, eying up the impala who were very relaxed and unaware of the potential threat!

Karula 19 Jan 2011

We sat and waited patiently, just happy to be there with Karula. She seemed in different to the whole situation before her! As we thought she was settling down for the day, the whole drama started to unfold. Quickly she became alert and sat bolt up right. In the blink of an eye, she was slinking away towards a bush for cover from impala moving in her direction. She couldn't have been more than a few meters from them, you could cut the tension with a knife! But for some unknown reason she decided not to pounce. Instead, the herd continued on and she increased the distance once more, but still showing interest.

I decided this was a good time to move in the direction she was heading. Getting a wonderful view of her, she carefully checked the herd. When all heads were down grazing, she crossed the road as close to the ground as possible, to avoid detection. Unfortunately for her, someone was vigilant and gave an alarm call. But it became clear later on they were not entirely sure what was in the area and went back to breakfast. It had set the herd on edge though, so it became less likely she would be successful. Maybe she will wait for the herd to settle before trying again later!

Written by Tara

Monday, January 17, 2011

Karula's family tree - Her Father, Mafufunyane


Mafufunyane 11 Nov 2010
Hi everyone!

No news about the lady herself for the last few days. We have driven around the areas she might be, but no tracks of her. So as we sit on the edge of our seats waiting for her and the cubs, I thought I would remind everyone of Karula's family tree! Inspired by a question asked by Dave on drive this morning! It is amazing to think we have 4 generations all within a few km of each other!

Mafufunyane, is a big male leopard, who we may have had the tracks of this morning walking North on Cheetah cut line. This is Karula's father. He was born in Mala Mala, the game reserve that lies to the South of us. He was born towards the end of 1998 and was called "the angry one" possibly because he would steal kills and cause a nuisance to the other leopards in the area! He has settled down quite considerably now though!

Mafufunyane 11 Nov 2010

When we see him it is usually around Gowrie Main, Shabam road and the pans on that junction and sometimes Cheetah cut line. The other males in the area are putting pressure on him but seems to be holding his own, for now!

Even though he is thought to be Karula's father, he could possibly have sired her first set of cubs. These are her daughter's who we know as Tingana and Saseka. The rest of the guides know them as Shadow and Thandi respectively.

I find the black marks below his eyes are thicker than on other leopards and he has an extremely thick neck. I do wonder if Karula got her WOW on her forehead from her father? Look closely!

Written by Tara, with thanks to Karen and Colleen for providing the information from the databases on Wildearth.ning.com.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Presenter try-outs


Summer is in full swing and this means the wet season. This year is a good year for the flora and fauna of Djuma Game Reserve with very good rains having fallen thus far. These last few days have been no exception and today WE have had non-stop rain since 3 am. Unfortunately, this weather did not permit Johann to go out this morning on his try-out drive and he has had to return to his family in Hoedspruit. WE have decided to postpone these audition drives until the weather improves and WE will keep our viewers informed when this will happen.

Thank you all for your support,

Marc.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Karula on Sandy Patch!

Karula 30/8/10
Hi everyone!


Karula was seen by Marc last night on drive on Sandy Patch North. The signal was intermittent as it usually is in that area. But to know she was there is great! As I understand from one of the guides, it sounds like she could be denning just North of Tamboti dam. Which is the dam on the Northern side of Buffleshoek cutline, opposite Mvubu road. We might have a chance at seeing the cubs soon, if she moves them from there to a location on our traversing area, which is a high possibility as we have been seeing her on Western Gowrie in the last 3 days.

Here is a map of our traversing area. You can see the relative distances of the places I have mentioned and she looks to be moving around 2km from the possible site at most. This ties in with the research that was done on a female leopard in a different area, who didn't hunt further than 2km from her den and averaged 1.5km.

Siphiwe possibly saw her on the way into work this morning. She saw a leopard crouching down in the long grass in the Sandy Patch area again. This time close to Vuyatela access road around 7.00 AM. I wonder, if it is her, does she have a kill in that area as she was there last night or has she moved the cubs already?

Written by Tara

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Presenter try-out time again.


The beginning of a new year is a perfect time for us at WildEarth and Safari Channel to embrace the future and make decisions about improving our product. One of these decisions is to improve the base of the organisation, the presenters and to do this we are having try-outs this coming weekend.






The first Guide, Johann Lombard will be arriving on Friday 14th January and he will be doing the Saturday Morning safari.

Johann has extensive guiding experience in many areas around Southern Africa including Namibia and Botswana. He has spent time here in the Sabi Sand Game Reserve, it was at this time that he crossed paths with both Craig and myself some years ago. Johann has been involved with guide training in most areas that he has worked and it is in this context that he had some experience with wildlife film productions, being part of some interesting survival and guide training shows. Johann's extensive knowledge and passion will no doubt shine through.

On Sunday 15th January, Andre Kruger will be here for the AM safari to showcase his skills and knowledge. Andre started his guiding career with rafting and canoe safaris on the mighty Zambezi River, a very wild river of Africa, populated with huge numbers of Hippo, Crocs, Buffalo and Elephant. Andre then moved down to the Greater Kruger National Park area where he conducted walking safaris in the Timbavati and Manyeleti. For the past couple of years he has been skippering yachts on the Indian Ocean and along with being a RYA Yachtmaster, he has represented South Africa with the President's team in saltwater angling and saltwater fly fishing.

WE wish them both good luck for their drives.

Posted by Marc.

Karula has been seen!

Hi everyone! It is great to be back and what a wonderful surprise to see the lady of Djuma her self yesterday on drive!

We were going to respond to a sighting of possibly one of the boys on Mvubu road, but he had made his way into think bush before we could get there. So I had decided to quickly check Twin dams for any movement. We found very uneasy impala rams, giving an alarm call, looking towards the drainage line. Following their line of sight, we saw Karula strolling around the corner towards us!

She was busy marking her territory and made her way into the river bed where we lost sight of her. Our patience was rewarded with a fantastic view of her emerging from the bush, rubbing her cheek on a tree before slowly walking around the back of Ganda, to continue her patrol!

Looking hungry, she was continually checking out possible meals, but sadly the elements were not in her favour. The closest she came to making a kill was on Bateleur road, a few meters from a small group of Nyala, who suddenly detected her, gave their deep barking call and scattered!

We had to leave her as she crossed into the riverbed to Nyala road South, to allow other vehicles to see her. According to Marc, she has used den sites in that area when she had the boys. Could she be checking the area out again to move her cubs there? I truly hope so!

Towards the end of drive after catching up with 4 rhinos, we headed back to Nyala road South to catch a final glimpse of her before she disappeared into the thick bush, possibly making her way back to Buffleshoek, where the den is thought to be at the moment. It was confirmed by Texan, 2 cubs have been seen, but sex is still unknown.

With any luck she will move them back here soon and we might have chance to catch our first glimpse of the cubs, now around 2 months old.

Written by Tara